Qualifying has been Suzuki’s biggest issue in 2020, with Mir only qualifying on the second row twice (although he inherited a front row slot in the Styrian GP owing to a penalty for Johann Zarco) prior to Aragon.
However, the Suzuki rider managed sixth in Q2 at Aragon on Saturday and could have found more time had he not been “disturbed” on his best lap. When Mir last qualified inside the top six, he managed a podium in the Austrian GP and was on course to win the second Red Bull Ring race before it was red-flagged.
Asked if his best qualifying since August offered him a good chance at victory, Mir said: “[It] can be a good opportunity. I feel strong on the lap pace and in FP4 I worked with a really used tyre and I was able to constant in good lap times. So, I don’t know what I have to expect tomorrow because the Yamaha guys – all three – they are especially competitive.
“It will be a great fight tomorrow, so let’s see if we can be with those guys.”
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Mir’s long run pace in FP4 on used soft rubber was comparable to the leading Yamaha duo of poleman Fabio Quartararo and second-placed Maverick Vinales. Vinales says “somehow we found more” to be stronger in the latter stages of the race and says he needs to attack championship leader Quartararo off the line.
“Last year I suffered a lot in the second part of the race,” said Vinales. “This year somehow we found something more, especially for the last 10 laps, which is something positive because we need [something] extra to fight with someone. And this is clear that we found something, especially on the electronics.
“Tomorrow we will try to be smooth, especially trying not to make mistakes. I will try to be aggressive and attack from the first corner. We have the championship leader just on the side. So, we need to go for him. Then we will try to make good rhythm. Tomorrow I feel confident. We have a good chance.”
Quartararo leads Mir by 10 points in the standings, with Vinales a further nine adrift, and the Petronas SRT rider feels these two are currently stronger than him.
“Joan has big pace, a really strong pace that I think we can be worried about him because he’s starting from the second row,” admitted Quartararo. “He managed to get a really good pace, and also Maverick. He is really fast. I knew this track was not the best for me, but for sure I will give 100% but I am struggling a lot for pace in the second part of the race.
“If we [Vinales and I] are together [at the start] and he is faster, for sure I will not play, because it’s important to make a gap to the guys behind. So, if he’s fast then I won’t close the door to then make a big group behind.”